What does “injury by accident” mean?

An injury by accident is an unusual event that interrupts normal work. The word “accident” is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance.” That definition makes sense: you don’t have an accident unless something out of the ordinary happens. When you apply that definition to workers’ comp in North Carolina, there isn’t an “accident” if you are doing a job in the usual way. Simply put, you cannot have a regular day at work, feel pain in your knee, foot or arm, and have a covered accident under workers’ comp.

When an injured worker describes an injury as work-related, and says that there was nothing unusual about the injury, he is likely to receive a letter from the insurance company and a form denying the claim. The form probably will state that the claim is being denied because the employee “did not have an accident within the meaning of the Workers’ Compensation Act.” And sometimes, that form will be right.

Click here to read more on this topic from Valerie Johnson’s book, Workers Comp 101,  Lessons You need to Learn Before It’s Too Late. 

Download a free copy of Workers’ Compensation 101 Guide by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

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